Eight teachers formerly employed at Scammon Elementary School in Chicago were forced to file a lawsuit against the school and the Scammon principal Mary Weaver after all claimed to experience pregnancy discrimination either during or directly after their pregnancies. The mothers accused Weaver of sabotaging their performance reviews and actively looking for reasons to fire each of them.
“There existed a regular, purposeful, and less-favorable treatment of teachers because of their sex (pregnancy),” read the lawsuit. The Chicago Public School System has been ordered to pay the eight mothers $280,000 in damages, and will also be required to send quarterly reports documenting “every complaint of discrimination or harassment related to pregnancy, and every related complaint of retaliation.”
Positive Results of the Pregnancy Discrimination LawsuitWhile it is absolutely justified that these mothers were awarded monetary compensation for their troubles, that is not the only good thing to come from their discrimination lawsuit.
In addition to the court-mandated reports, Chicago Public Schools will be voluntarily implementing new training programs for all its supervisors. A spokesperson for the school system has said that they are “fully committed to promoting inclusive work environments free of discrimination or mistreatment.”
Hopefully, these mothers’ recent win will help to raise people’s awareness of workplace discrimination. Pregnancy discrimination in particular can sometimes be especially damaging since it’s not just the life of the mother that is affected, but also the child. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received over 5,000 complaints of pregnancy discrimination in 2013 alone.